By a Newsnet reporter
Remarks from Boris Johnson has exposed the ’empty promises’ of the No camp over more devolution for Scotland, the SNP has said after the outspoken Mayor of London sought to rally the Tories against extra powers.
On the same day he admitted his plans to lead his party after the 2015 election, Johnson railed against what he said was “ever more things we are giving Scotland”,
According to the Mail on Sunday, the London Mayor said that there is “no reason” for Scotland to have more powers – and said instead that tax-raising powers should be granted to major cities in England.
This intervention comes on the same day as the Sunday Times reports Mr Johnson has admitted for the first time his plans to lead the Conservative party, in the aftermath of his decision to stand for election to the House of Commons in 2015.
The prospect of Mr Johnson leading the Tories is becoming increasingly likely – with today’s Mail on Sunday also reporting a campaign amongst Tory MPs to dump David Cameron and install the popular figure as leader after the next election.
When asked about more powers in the event of a No vote, Johnson said:
“Ever more things we are giving Scotland….for no reason we are promising the Scots more tax-raising powers. Quite why, I don’t understand. There’s no need to do it.
“What has England ever got out of this devolution process? If you want to have growth in the English cities then you should do what Manchester wants, what Liverpool, Leeds, all of us want — and that’s give us more tax-raising powers.”
The outspoken Conservative politician has previously claimed that London “exports” its taxes to Scotland and that there is not a “cat’s chance in Hades” that Scots will vote for independence. In 2012, Johnson casued anger after he claimed that more jobs would be created in Strathclyde if public cash was invested in a London region rather than in Scotland.
Commenting on the London Mayor’s latest statements, SNP MSP James Dornan said:
“It was always clear that No campaign pledges of more powers weren’t worth the paper they were written on – and Boris Johnson getting caught out telling the truth will be a major embarrassment to the No camp.
“The fact is that Westminster has always thought there was ‘no need’ for Scotland to have more powers. Their current claims are just a ‘rather desperate bribe’, as the architect of devolution Canon Kenyon Wright has said.
“Boris Johnson is just admitting what the rest of the No camp are thinking.
“But Mr Johnson’s ham-fisted remarks come on the same day as it has emerged significant numbers of Tory MPs are backing his campaign to lead the party – which is a grim insight into the priorities of the Westminster establishment.
“The serious prospect of someone like Boris Johnson as Prime Minister after the next election – taking decisions affecting Scotland – will be enough to send chills down the spines of people across the country.
“A Yes vote is our one opportunity to ensure we get the government we vote for every single time – we need to grab that opportunity with both hands.”
In the STV debate on Tuesday, Better Together head Alistair Darling appeared to struggle when asked which powers would be devolved to Scotland in the event of a No vote.
All three London parties have pledged extra powers if Scots vote no in the referendum. However Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems have been unable to agree exactly what extra powers will be devolved should Scots reject independence.